The Senior Amateur Championship was established in 1955 as a
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result of a remarkable
growth in senior golf. Many senior associations had come into being on district,
state and sectional levels. The oldest was the United States Seniors' Golf Association,
which limited itself to 850 members and had a substantial waiting list.
Most of the others also were similar to private clubs, conducting fine, enjoyable
tournaments for their members. However, as there was no one event open to members
of all USGA Regular Member Clubs, the USGA was requested to inaugurate such
Thus was born the USGA Senior Amateur Championship, for members of USGA Regular
Member Clubs who were 55 years old and had handicaps not exceeding 10. One hundred
twenty-eight players qualified through 18-hole sectional rounds, and they competed
in another 18-hole qualifying round at the Championship site for 32 places in
match play. The match play comprised one 18-hole round each day.
The first Championship was held at the Belle Meade Country Club, Nashville,
Tenn., in September-October, and J. Wood Platt, 56, of the Saucon Valley Country
Club, Bethlehem, Pa., defeated George Studinger, of San Francisco, Calif., 5
Platt was two under par in the final. The medalist was Martin M. Issler, of
West Orange, N.J., who equalled par with a 72. Sixteen tied for the last ten
places at 79. The Championship attracted 370 entrants. Thirty states and the
District of Columbia were represented among the qualifiers.